Texas Children’s launches new resilience training course

July 1, 2019

On May 29 and 30 The Woodlands campus hosted Texas Children’s inaugural quality and safety course, Resilience Engineering in Healthcare (REHC). A small cohort of 36 learners from across the system, combined with 20 faculty and safety specialists were handpicked to be a part of this innovative training. Eight additional Texas Children’s executives served as observers who engaged, watched, and became more informed, during the presentations.

System Chief Quality Officer Dr. Eric Williams, partnered with Quality and Safety leadership to develop the training and bring awareness to the ongoing complexity of our work environment, importantly highlighting its impact on patient safety. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year due to medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer. This current and long-standing dilemma in healthcare is what sparked Williams and his team to develop an approach that allows us to harness adaptability to build and design a safer patient environment.

Williams hypothesized that, “Teams that are adaptable and resilient are more likely to be successful at managing the unexpected, mitigating risk, and increasing the speed that we deliver better and safer health care.”

An organization’s performance is resilient if it can function as required under expected and unexpected conditions alike. Resilience engineering is about better designing that ability to cope. The Team of Teams model from the McChrystal Group, a global advisory services and leadership development firm was also shared as a method of how to overcome the obstacles of operating in a complex work environment.

“We need to transform our approach to patient safety into one that is not solely focused on preventing human error in hindsight, simply because complex systems like healthcare can be highly unpredictable,” Director of Quality Education & Simulation Kelly Wallin said. “Routinely, individuals and teams are constantly adapting to manage expected and unexpected events before they ever lead to patient harm. The goal for our organization to learn how teams can best become more resilient and adaptive. That is the transformational skill set we need to share across the organization.”

This course is the first of its kind that includes immersive coursework topics. A total of four in-person sessions include information delivered via didactics, simulation-based training, and also theater-based improvisation.

By the end of the training, the expectation is that participants will be able to describe the presence of organizational resilience in health care. This includes the ability to increase both personal skills and their ability to teach others resiliency skills such as – anticipation, monitoring, response and learning. They also will be able to implement and evaluate safety, and resilience interventions in their own respective units.

“This innovative training was a breath of fresh air,” Director of Perioperative Services Amanda Ward said. “It was inspiring to learn approaches that enables a team to see through a new lens and was an extremely positive experience for me. I came back looking for opportunities to use what I had learned in my own department.”

With data collected during the training combined with participant feedback, the team expects to refine and revise the course and continue to offer it as advanced training.

“Every two weeks we’re distributing missions for each one of these learners to report back from within their workplace,” Wallin said. “We want to know how have they either utilized or identified something they’ve learned in this course; something that works well in the real world that we need to capture and build into our organizational training strategies.”

In September part two of this quality and safety course will take place at The Woodlands campus. Williams and Texas Children’s executives are looking forward to seeing this training progress and become an annual course.

“The training was extremely informative and hands on. I look forward to our organization focusing more on building our resilience potential,” Assistant Vice President of The Woodlands Campus Ketrese White said. “The goal is that we can adjust and adapt our safety management procedures to incorporate the tactics taught in this course. This will only catapult Texas Children’s success and allow us to continue to provide high quality, reliable care.”

This coursework could not have been possible without the generous support of the Tressler family, whose kind donation was specifically directed to improve quality and safety.